Big 3 fans ready for bowl games

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 5, 1999

Ole Miss, Mississippi State and USM fans should be happy with the official news that their teams will be heading to post season bowls.

Everyone has known that these teams were headed to post-season play but the exact bowl wasn’t known for Ole Miss or State until the SEC Championship game was played.

With Alabama’s dismantling of the Florida Gators Saturday night, the bowl picture became clearer for the Mississippi schools.

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Ole Miss sporting a 7-4 record will play in the Independence Bowl.

The Rebels will face the Oklahoma Sooners. Ole Miss limps into the post season after two heart-breaking defeats by Georgia and arch-rival Mississippi State.

Expect Rebel skipper David Cutcliffe to have his squad ready. The Rebel losses have been a result of untimely bad luck.

Oklahoma shouldn’t think they have an easy team in the Rebels.

Conerly Trophy winner, Deuce McAllistar, should see plenty of action against the Sooner defense.

Mississippi State will return to the site of their 1998 SEC Championship game. The Bulldogs will return to the Georgia Dome to play in the Peach Bowl.

Most Bulldog fans figured their 9-2 record was good enough to play on New Year’s Day.

As fate would have it, Mississippi State is destined to play December 30. The Clemson Tigers are the Bulldogs’ opponent.

For SEC fans, a familiar face will be coaching Clemson. Terry Bowden formerly of Auburn is ready for the tussle with MSU.

”What a challenge for our offense.” he said. ”We have already had to play four of the top 18 defenses in the country in Virginia Tech, Marshall, Florida State and South Carolina, now we will go against number one.”

Southern Miss has been a lock in the Liberty Bowl since their creative win over Louisville. The dominant team of C-USA will butt heads with the Rams of Colorado State.

Jeff Bower should have USM ready. The Eagles’ coach remembers the painful humiliation that resulted in last year’s loss at the Humanitarian Bowl.

The Rams offer the Eagles stiff competition. At this point in the season, Colorado State is the top team in the league.

The Golden Eagles possess a suffocating defense lead by All-American defensive lineman Adalius Thomas.

Teammates like Cedric Scott, T.J. Slaughter and Ty Trahan punish opposing offenses with their multiple defensive sets and bone-jarring hits.

The USM offense features one of the best receiver tandem in USM history.

Todd Pinkston and Sherrod Gideon are known to stretch opposing defenses with their blinding speed.

USM fans hope Gideon has recovered an ankle injury that made him miss the final two games.

If the excitement of the bowl games isn’t enough, fans of the Mississippi teams will learn through first-hand experience how Y2K compatible airlines and hotels are. Ole Miss and Southern Miss play on New Year’s Eve.

Who knows? This bowl season could be interesting for plenty of reasons.

I expect to see plenty of rabid football fans filling cars decorated with favorite team logos traveling north, east and west over the New Year’s break.

I can’t think of a better way to bring in year 2000.

Good luck to all the teams and fans.

Tim Isbell is creative director at The Democrat. He can be reached at 446-5172 ext 233 or by e-mail at